The uniqueness of the case of Ruslan Metlitsky is that his employer agreed with the REP Trade Union. However, the legal inspector was not satisfied and went against the illegal pension reform.
Ruslan Metlitsky, a member of the REP Trade Union, had worked for six years in hazardous conditions, but his employer, the Kalinkovichi Repair and Mechanical Factory, found no reason for his early retirement.
REP helps residents of Kalinkovichi in achieving early retirement
Foundryman: I earned my pension in hot shop
Ruslan turned for help to Leonid Sudalenko, the REP legal inspector for the Gomel Region, who complemented the worker's claim to factory bosses with another demand: to provide Ruslan with his due pension under the old legislation, not under the recent pension reform, which is contrary to the Constitution.
The Ruslan Metlitsky's case was unique, since factory officials admitted their mistake and agreed that he had really earned his right to early retirement.
On October 19, in Kalinkovichi, the main court session and the claimant's debate took place; on October 26, the defendant take the floor in the debate, and the court will announce its judgement.
Leonid Sudalenko has commented on the litigation:
"After the REP Trade Union began appealing to various bodies with a request to clear out why Metlitsky has no right to retire five years earlier because of special working conditions, his former employer also studied the documents and acknowledged this legitimate right. The factory handed over the documents to the department of social security for incurring the early pension to the foundryman."
However, these were not all the claims:
"We've adjudged only five years of retirement. According to today's reform legislation, Metlitsky will retire at the age of 57. But our position goes further: agreeing essentially with these calculations, the REP Trade Union states: if not for the recent changes that worsened the worker's situation, he would have retired at 55. Both the Constitution and the law prohibit giving retroactive force to laws that worsen people's conditions. I told about it at the debates trying to convince the judge: 'Apply the Constitution!' This is probably the first case in Belarusian history, when the judge will have to compare the pension reform with the Constitution. I, as a lawyer of the REP Trade Union, believe that the new pension legislation worsens people's situation; therefore such laws should not be given the retroactive effect!"
Andrei Strizhak, a Board member of the REP Trade Union, who was also in the courtroom, noted the constructive position of both the employer and the Inspectorate of Labour and Social Protection:
"They've carefully studied the foundryman's case, admitted their guilt, and thanks to their work we managed to establish the truth. The employer heard our arguments, did a great job and corrected his mistake. This is a rare case in the judicial practice of the REP Trade Union, when the respondent agreed with the claimant."
Denis Rabenok, the head of the REP union group in the city of Kalinkovichi, suggested what the court decision would be on the rest of the claims:
"The main point is that before the trial the pension commission recognized that Ruslan Metlitsky had 5 years of work in hazardous conditions. Initially, they denied his right to early retirement whatsoever. I think that this is just the result of the work of the REP Trade Union, of the appeals to the Gomel Regional Labour Inspectorate and directly to the court. As for Ruslan's retiring at 55, which could be possible before the so-called 'pension reform' (increase of retirement age), unfortunately, in Belarus, the constitutional norms, which our union and the legal inspector Leonid Sudalenko have referred to, are not observed and taken into account. Bureaucrats are guided by decrees, ordinances and laws, which are often contrary to the Constitution, which clearly states that no legal acts that exacerbate citizens' legal status shall be adopted. In any case, Ruslan's right to early retirement has been defended by REP. Our struggle for the return into our lives of the Constitution norms, in this case, in the sphere of pensions, should be continued, as it concerns millions of people."
This is not the first pension case dealt with by the REP Trade Union:
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